60 films, 26 filmmakers for IREP, AWDFF joint Documentary Film Festival

by Araayo Akande

The development of vaccines notwithstanding, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause disruptions. After forcing organisers to suspend the 10th-anniversary edition in 2020, this year’s IREP Documentary Film Festival will also hold virtually. 

Beginning from Thursday, 60 films from 26 countries would screen at the IREP and African World Documentary Film Festival (AWDFF) joint Documentary Film Festival happening virtually.  

Though mainly a collaboration between the Lagos-based iREP Documentary Film Forum/Festival and the US-based AWDFF at the School of Theatre, Television, & Film at San Diego State University, it will also involve others from Cameroon, South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda and the Caribbean. 

Retaining ‘Africa in Self-Conversation’ as the theme, it will feature screenings, conversations, lectures and producers’ conventions.  

 The 2021 edition “IREP-AWDFF 2021 is a necessary child of circumstances. In the world we currently inhabit, there is hardly any other way to realise the full potential of an international film festival of our pedigree than to collaborate and cooperate with other organisations with similar objectives. Luckily, we have always been in partnership with the AWDFF in our past 10 editions. We have also expanded to accommodate collaborations from colleagues in Cameroon, Rwanda, South Africa, and The Caribbean,” said Femi Odugbemi, Executive Director of iREP. 

One of this year’s innovations is the School Outreach scheme. It will ensure screenings and conversations attract students’ interest and participation in select campuses in South Africa, Cameroon, Nigeria, Rwanda, the USA and the Caribbean. 

Though there are 60 films, four-star films would be screened daily from Thursday to Sunday.  They are ‘Unmasked: Leadership, Trust and the Covid-19 Pandemic in Nigeria’, directed by Femi Odugbemi and produced by Daria Media (owned by Kadaria Ahmed). 

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It will screen on Friday, March 19, at 2.45 pm. It would be followed by a conversation around making the film and how a documentary film could help deepen the culture of citizen vigilance and participation in democracy.  

The second is the Ayo Adewunmi directed ‘Confra’ –looking at the new character of confraternities in Nigerian universities. 

The other star films are Siji Awoyinka’s ‘Elders’ Corner’, an epic tale of survival and the undeniable power of music to reconnect the present, and ‘King of Highlife’ about the late Cardinal Rex Jim Lawson, directed by Kaka Benson. 

 ‘The Supreme Sacrifice’ on the annulled June 12 presidential election, by Joanna Lipper would also be screened, as would Ed Keazor’s ‘January 15 1970 – Untold Memories of the Nigeria – Biafra War‘. 

Other films, slated for  premiere at the cancelled 2020 edition include, ‘China-Africa Mobile’, directed by Daniel Kotter; ‘Painter – Juliet-Ezenwa-Pearce’ by Tam Fiofori; ‘Eye of an Artist, by Kennii Ekundayo; ‘100 Days in Rwanda’, by Tunde Alabi-Hundeyin 11 and ‘Nightlife in Lagos’ by James Amuta among others. 

A presentation on ‘Documentary & Democratic Governance in Africa’ by Dr Joanna Lipper, producer of ‘The Supreme Sacrifice’, will kick off The iREPxCHANGE, a series of conversations, on March 18. 

It will be the turn of Femi Odugbemi and Kadaria Ahmed, director and producer of ‘Unmasked’ on March 19. Tony Adah will moderate it.

The third conversation, titled ‘Future Forward: Collaboration & Cooperative as template for Film Festivals’, will happen on March 20. The founder/director of AWDFF, Niyi Coker’ Jnr, will moderate the session featuring representatives of the collaborative organs and coordinators of the School Outreach for iREP 2021 and other resource persons. 

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The CORA Art Stampede on the theme ‘Documentary & Preservation of Memories’ will happen on March 21. It will feature the screening of ‘January 15 1970’ – Untold Memories of the Nigeria – Biafra War, directed by Keazor, followed by a conversation between the CORA’s Secretary-General, Toyin Akinosho and Keazor.  

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